Fantasy Football Line-Up Primer - Week 7

Six weeks have been played and there have been plenty of upsets and surprises in probably the most competitive NFL season ever. Any edge you can get in setting your fantasy line-up is hugely valuable as games are decided literally by inches in 2012 and Week 7 of the NFL should be no different.

Quarterbacks

Start them:

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills, $2m: With Buffalo having a big chance of winning two games in a row, against Tennessee, Fitzpatrick should step up with a huge game facing a Titans defense that ranks 30th in the NFL at stopping the pass. Drew Brees, Saints, $4m had a bye week to recover from the emotions of a sensational night in which he broke Johnny Unitas’ record by throwing a TD pass in 48 consecutive games. Forty-nine will come up on Sunday as will plenty of passing yards as Brees will be looking to get the Saints back in to playoff contention. Andrew Luck, Colts, $2m: In a losing cause, Bengals Andy Dalton passed for 381 yards against the Browns defense on Sunday. Indianapolis will play a close game against Cleveland at home but regardless of the score, Luck will have a huge performance. Andy Dalton, Bengals, $3m is quickly becoming one of the most prolific fantasy passers. Steelers and Bengals will air-it-out at Cincinnati, with Dalton and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger ($3m) posting high fantasy figures again.  

Sit them:

Russell Wilson, Seahawks, $1m had his best game as a pro last week against the Patriots, but playing at Seattle is different than doing it at San Francisco, and Wilson should go back to posting very average fantasy figures. Aaron Rodgers, Packers, $4m: Of course Rodgers will have a good game at St. Louis, but this is not the week to spend $4m on him, facing the stingy Rams defense. Cam Newton, Panthers, $4m is not at his best and will play against a Dallas pass defense that ranks first in the league in the category, being the only “D” that has allowed an average of under 200 passing yards per outing.  

Running backs

Star them:

Doug Martin, Buccaneers, $1m is definitely a back to be considered this week. He has a very low price and could excel going against a Saints terrestrial defense that ranks last in the AFC. Shonn Greene, $3m is coming off a career game against the Colts with 161 rushing yards and three touchdowns. It will not be that easy running vs. New England, but the Jets need a big performance from Greene if they want to upset the Patriots. Trent Richardson, $1m left the game against Cincinnati on Sunday with a ribs injury. He is listed as questionable in the injury report. Monitor closely his development and if he can’t go, do not hesitate starting his backup Montario Hardesty ($1m). Whoever starts in the Browns backfield should have a big day facing a Colts run defense that showed how weak it is giving up 250 rushing yards in New York against the Jets in Week 6.

Sit them:

Frank Gore, 49ers, $3m did not have a good game on Sunday against the Giants and will be up against the number 2 run-defense (yards allowed per contest) in the NFL. Mikel Leshoure, Lions, $1m is doing a good job carrying the bulk of Detroit’s rushing attack, but playing at Chicago against a defense that ranks number 1 in the league allowing less than 70 ground yards per game does not bode well for Leshoure in fantasy terms.

Wide receivers

Start them:

Stevie Johnson, Bills, $3m does not get as much attention as other wide outs in the NFL, but he is one of the prime receivers in the league. Johnson is by far Fitzpatrick’s favourite aerial weapon with 27 catches and three TD receptions on the season. He should have a big game against the Titans on Sunday. Dez Bryant, Cowboys, $3m showed what he is capable of with a 13-catch, 2-touchdown performance at Baltimore on Sunday. He should continue the streak at Carolina. Marques Colston, Saints, $3m has accumulated very impressive numbers in his last two games: 284 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. The streak should continue at Tampa Bay. Bengals A.J. Green ($4m) and Steelers Mike Wallace ($3m): If Pittsburgh and Cincinnati put on an aerial show on Sunday night their prime receivers, Green and Wallace, should have the best opportunity to capitalize on it.

Sit them:

Steve Smith, Panthers, $4m will be up against the number 1 passing defense in the NFL. The Cowboys have only allowed one player this season (Chicago’s Marshall) to reach 100 yards receiving in a game. Larry Fitzgerald, $4m: With all the offensive problems Arizona is having lately, it would be wise to keep Fitzgerald on the bench this week.

Tight ends

Start them:

Martellus Bennett, Giants, $2m: Tight ends have destroyed the Redskins defense in the last two games (Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez and Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph). The contest presents and excellent opportunity for Bennett. After grabbing a TD pass in his first three games as a Giant, the former Cowboy did not score and just grabbed five passes in the next three. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals, $3m showed on Sunday that he represents a deep threat for Dalton, grabbing three passes for 68 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown reception.

Sit them:

Jermichael Finley, Packers, $3m has only one touchdown catch on the whole season. He will be up against a St. Louis defense that has surrendered an NLF best four passing touchdowns (only one by a TE). Jeff King, Cardinals, $1m. With Todd Heap injured, King has started five games this season, but has not recorded more than two catches in any of them.

Kickers

Start them:

David Akers, 49ers, $2m, as his whole team, had a game to forget on Sunday, but he should bounce back, having plenty of opportunities to kick deep inside Seattle’s territory. Lawrence Tynes, Giants, $1m has 68 points this season and already leads the NFL in scoring by six points over his closest follower: New England’s Stephen Gostkowski. Playing at home on Sunday, Tynes’ production should continue. Blair Walsh, Vikings, $1m booted four field goals in four attempts Sunday at Washington proving that, despite being a rookie, he is one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL.

Sit them:

Justin Medlock, Panthers, $1m has only attempted two field goals in five games this season.

Team defenses

Start them:

San Francisco 49ers, $2m: San Francisco was humiliated Sunday at home by the Giants and its defense would be looking to avenge the loss. The 49ers are still the number 1 overall defense in the league and Seattle has a mistake-prone offense which could lead San Francisco to get a good chunk of fantasy points. St. Louis Rams, $1m: Rodgers and the Packers will find ways to score points on them, but remember the only two defensive stats that matter in our fantasy game are turnovers and sacks. Green Bay has given up 23 sacks this season (second worst in the league) and St. Louis has recorded 18. Minnesota Vikings, $1m: Any defense facing an offensive line (Arizona’s) that has given up 22 sacks in the last three weeks should be a strong candidate for a roster spot in our fantasy game. Chicago Bears, $1m: The Monsters of the Midway lead all defenses in our fantasy contest. They will have another huge opportunity if the Bears get on top of the Lions on Monday Night. If Detroit needs to play catch up, QB Matthew Stafford will have to gamble and Chicago’s defensive chances of having another huge fantasy performance will increase dramatically.

Sit them:

Washington Redskins, $1m: The Giants offensive line has allowed a league low five sacks on the season and since Week 2 Eli Manning has been intercepted only twice. Definitely the odds are against the Redskins defense recording a big fantasy game at New York.

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